I Believe, by We Were Strangers: This one is easy to sink into and get lost in. I made it through twice before I paused to wonder what, exactly, was going on here – were the rich piano tones and lush strings disguising a dark tale of love and kidnapping? Or being kidnapped by love? The answer, as it turns out, is somewhere between “maybe” and “kind of,” depending on how you feel about settling on one person; per singer and chief lyricist Stefan Melbourne, it’s about “letting yourself commit to someone, and sustaining that.” Also appearing on this track: James Kenosha (drums and piano) and Lins Wilson (cello). Kenosha, who initially heard the songs when Melbourne posted them under the name The Works of Isaac, also acted as producer. The band is from Manchester, but their first show will be at the Bedroom Bar in London on February 25th; check it out if you’re in town.
Ok kids, let’s start this weekend off right, with Maybe Tonight I’ll Find You, a jaunty noir-inflected romp about looking for true love in mildly unsavory places by Smoking Ghosts, featuring Liana Lewis Agredo. It’s from their new EP, Flores De los Muertos, which is, on the whole, quite good. Refreshing is probably the best word for it; I heartily recommend it
Sundowner is the second record from HT Heartache (Mary Roth), of Los Angeles, CA. And, for a record named after a biker gang, it’s surprising mellow. It’s also awesome: there isn’t a single song that’s filler, not even one note out of place. I like to put it on in the evening and sink into it like a warm bath. Ok, a warm bath with strong noir undertones that – just to totally mix metaphors here – if it was a person, very likely wear red lipstick and would regularly be asked to surrender all of her knives. She wouldn’t, of course, she’d just hand over the ones people can see. But they’d try. The first song is Trenton, and it sets the tone for the whole record: meditative, melancholy, sharp and lovely: These next two are just my favorites. Soft Rain, for the velvety texture of the interplay of her voice and the melody: And Darkside, because it’s the most up-tempo tune on the record, and fun to sing along to:
This is the video for Breathe Your Last, by Jameson (Jameson Burt), from his new EP Carnivore. It considers, visually, the battle between artist – writer, in this case – and demons, and artist and self, and contains some weird Fight Club-style bloody violence and Blair Witch-style shaky footage of one man’s mind coming apart at the seams. There is one extended scene with words melting off a blackboard that is seriously the stuff of nightmares for anyone who keeps little piles of scribbled chunks of story and notes-to-self laying around. On the plus side: our hero does climb out of the nightmare pit at the end and presumably lives to fight (and scribble) another day. Some thoughts about Carnivore as a whole: I’ve been listening to it on loop for the last couple of days, and it is the kind of record that 1) will stand up to that kind of test – I have yet to get bored with it and 2) blooms under that kind of scrutiny. Breathe Your Last has a distinctly Americana sound, but the rest of the songs don’t really; they shimmy all over the indie rock spectrum, borrowing from a variety of genres … Continue reading
Junkie Thrown (Sanna Holmström) is from Göteborg, Sweden, and she combines crystal-sweet vocals with delicate guitars and the occasional heavy hypnotic beat. I spent most of last night listening to her YouTube uploads on endless loop; that includes her tunes as well as one by a friend – Sun Lions Army, by Sea Lion – and you can replicate that experience if you like, or you can listen to just her stuff, below. Fairy Christmas Day is . . . not your typical Christmas song. It’s Christmas through a haze – a haze of what, who knows – disappointment and alcohol, maybe – but it’s also somehow soothing. And then there is Circus of Our Misery, as an example of her non-Christmas fare, which has a delicate melody over a dark, thudding undertow.
November has come to a close. Novels have been written; moustaches, of various degrees of amazingness and horribleness, have been grown and shaved; turkey has been eaten; in some locations, the first snow has fallen. Here at NTSIB, I’ve been doing NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month. I’ll do a masterpost later, but: there’s been a lot of music. Go back through the archives and see what you’ve missed. To finish out, here is the Joyce Manor/Toys that Kill split, set to be turned loose upon the world later this week, via Recess Records. If you like Ramones-style punk, these bands are for you. Joyce Manor, Tame: Toys That Kill, Times We Can’t Let Go: They’re also touring the West Coast together later in December.
A home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Tei Shi (Valerie Teicher), from Brooklyn via Argentina, Colombia, Boston and Vancouver, gives her genre as “mermaid music”, and this strikes me as an accurate assessment. It’s subtle, complex, seductive and a little bit otherworldly. See Me is one of two new singles; I’m most fond of the trance-y hiss-click beat that periodically expands into something light and airy, as well as the dark wubble-bubble echoes floating beneath her crystalline voice: Bassically is a little more up-tempo, and has a little more fuzz-grit, and is just delightful: New Yorkers: She’s playing at Glasslands on Dec. 8; everyone else: check in with her frequently, there will be more music coming, and be sure to explore her back catalog.
It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. And now, a very special holiday/Friday/holiday Friday treat: a new song from my favorite international man of mystery El Xicano. This one is called I Mostri (Monsters), and it’s a little bit more mellow than La Grande Pauro, but no less lovely. The rest of the EP will surface next year, but in the mean … Continue reading